Editor, Times-Union:

The primary election to decide the Republican nominee for sheriff is almost here, and voters may be wondering why they should vote for someone new when an incumbent is up for re-election. Here are the top five reasons I will be casting my ballot for Jim Smith.

1. Servant Leadership: Most politicians today throw around the phrase “servant leadership,” but few actually live it. Jim Smith volunteered to serve his country in Iraq and Kuwait. There is no greater example of service than that. We can be confident that Jim Smith will always put service before politics.

2. Conservative Compensation: Jim Smith will end the current practice of inflating the sheriff’s pay by taking a portion of collected tax warrant money. He will instead enter a reasonable salary contract with the county council and keep the tax warrant money in the county’s general fund to benefit the community, not himself. There is no good reason for the sheriff of Kosciusko County to be paid more than the governor of Indiana.

3. Jail Maintenance: Jim Smith is not satisfied with the out-of-control damage and overdoses in the Kosciusko County Jail. He will bring in a canine specifically trained to find drugs in the jail, and he will ensure that all employees are properly trained on how to use the jail’s body scanner. He will be a hands-on sheriff who does regular walk-throughs of the jail and works hand-in-hand with jailers and county maintenance to ensure that vandalism is stopped and inmates are held accountable.

4. Merit-Based Employment: Jim Smith will not promote family members into higher ranking positions within the department. Although it is not illegal in Indiana for a sheriff to put his relatives into high-ranking positions, Jim Smith believes that this does not make for good government and will make hiring and promotion decisions based on merit alone.

5. Veterans Programs: Jim Smith has a vision to help struggling veterans by connecting them with members of law enforcement from across the county who have also served. He knows for himself the struggles and stresses faced by our veteran community, and he is very well-positioned to make this noble vision a reality.

I hope that you’ll consider all of these issues and join me in voting for Jim Smith on May 3.

Matt Himes

Warsaw, via email